Our lives revolve around our computers. They are our connection to friends and family. They are the center of our businesses. We use them to create and edit important documents while listening to music and storing precious photos. All this activity creates a hard drive full of files you never want to lose. What if something happened one day and your files were missing? Even with the best of intentions, our hard drives still live hard lives. It is easier than you’d think to damage a drive.

Every day at Recovermydrive in Vancouver, we see first hand what happens when hard drive accidents occur. Usually, the damage comes from a dropped drive, though other issues do happen, such as power surges and failed components in the drive. It is traumatizing to think all your files might suddenly be gone in an instant.

You try repeatedly, but you can not get to your files. You meant to back them up, but somehow never got around to it. With no backup, everything is gone. Do not give up just yet. There is a good chance that your files might still be recoverable.

Most Common Issues Caused by Impact

Even a tiny impact can severely damage a hard drive. Hard drives spin anywhere from 5400 to over 10000 RPM while it reads and writes data. Heads inside the hard drive float with only three nanometers above the disk surface. It does not take much of an impact to force heads to slam against the disk. It is even worse if the impact happens when the drive is still spinning.

Typically, one of four things happen when you drop a hard drive:

• Heads could be damaged
• Heads could get contaminated
• Spindles can seize
• Heads can get stuck on platters

Any of the four result in a non-functional hard drive, leaving you unable to access your data. Depending on how severe the damage is, some or all of your data might be recoverable.

Damaged Heads

If the heads are damaged and dead, we have to replace them in order for the drive to be read again. Luckily, as long as a compatible drive is available, the parts inside a hard drive are usually interchangeable. At Recoverymydrive, we always have thousands of different hard drives specifically for parts. This makes it easy to find a donor drive whenever a physical data recovery is necessary. This ensures we’re able to start on recoveries quickly and not have to wait for days or weeks for donor parts to arrive.

Contaminated Heads

Vibrations from the impact result in the heads slamming against the platters. This damages the hard drive assembly and the heads. The heads are further contaminated as they scrape across the platters. When the scrapes are bad enough, it causes an immediate hard drive failure.

When you boot your computer, you hear a clicking sound which means the drive is damaged and you should stop using it immediately to prevent further damage. To recover your data, a head replacement is necessary. This requires a clean room along with trained technicians. If you try this at home, your files could be permanently deleted. After the replacement, the drive can only be used temporary to transfer files to a new hard drive.

Seized Spindle

If your drive does not spin but makes beeping or buzzing sounds, there is a really good chance that the impact had damaged the spindle. Seized spindle problems are mostly common along 3.5″ drives because platters on those drives weigh more. We see this most often with Seagate drives.

The spindle is sometimes weakened and bent during impact, causing the drive to not be able to spin. Without spinning, access to data is impossible. Spindle is a part of the bearing assemble that is pressed in at the factory, and it is not separable from the chassis. In order to recover data from such issue, we would have to transplant all of the hard drive “guts” into another chassis that have a functional bearing assembly.

It is vital to use a professional data recovery service with trained technicians, a clean room and specialized tools to perform the platter transplant procedure which involves placing your platter into a new chassis with a functioning spindle. Platters and heads require perfect alignment to ensure that the data is not lost or damaged further.

Stuck Heads

Most of the time heads get stuck when the drive is not powered on when it is dropped. You hear a beep, but the drive doesn’t spin. Heads rest in the parking zone when hard drive is not powered on, but impact can force them to jump out onto the flat surface of the disks and lock platters up just like “brakes on the car”.

This is actually a good thing. In most cases since no further damage occurred, the drive is completely recoverable. However, it still needs to be opened and a clean room is necessary. After being repaired, most drives are 100% recovered at Recovermydrive in Vancouver.

Backup Data Now

You never know when hard drive damage might happen, so back up your data now to prevent any data loss. Think of a backup plan as an insurance policy for your data. If you do not have a backup and your drive is damaged, contact us immediately for a free quote. We will do everything we can to recover as much data as possible.

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